Going on with Lucy W.‘s list we meet another historical DC villain, Dr. Sivana, the nemesis of the Marvel Family. Sivana is one of the oldest DC villains, born in 1940, and he’s pretty much the prototype of mad scientists in comics. As for now, he received only one live action portrayal, in the 1970s tv special Legends of the Superheroes: portrayed by Howard Morris, he debuts alongside an impressive number of villains in a new incarnation of the Legion of Doom, trying to ruin the party for Scarlet Cyclone‘s retirement celebration, and he comes back in the second part to participate to the roast of the superheroes held by Ed McMahon. In the comics, he’s much more menacing than this, and he’s renowned for being the first villain who expressly doesn’t have any problem in killing children (quite a feat at the beginning of comics). He’s one of the few characters who retained at least part of his biography going from Fawcett Comics to DC Comics, so we can reduce his origin stories to two different versions: let’s see together.
Thaddeus Bodog Sivana was born somewhere in Europe in 1892, from an unknown family. Growing up he became one of the most brilliant minds in the world, so ahead of his time that most of his peers believed him to be a visionary. The only one who encouraged him in his discoveries was Venus, his wife, who also gave him four children: Beautia, Magnificus, Georgia and Thaddeus Jr., children who inherited a part of their father’s character each. The scientific community, however, kept mocking him for inventions they simply couldn’t understand, and after the umpteenth refusal Sivana finally snapped: he decided to leave the very planet Earth, sure that humans weren’t worthy of his genius. With a spaceship of his own invention (one of the creations that weren’t supposed to work according to the scientists), Sivana and his family travelled to planet Venus (a homage to his wife), waiting for the moment Earth would have been ready to accept his superior intellect. Venus, however, wasn’t exactly a heaven of a planet, and Sivana’s wife perished there; embittered by his beloved one’s death, Thaddeus blamed Earth’s scientists for everything, and having to fight for his life every day of his life didn’t make things any better. When, some thirty years later, Sivana decided it was time to come back to Earth, he did so with one thing in mind: revenge. In the United States it was 1940, and the planet was engulfed in World War II: the best way Sivana had to obtain his revenge, was to put the country in danger against its enemies. With one of his machines, a radio silencer, he threatened to destroy all radio communications permanently if he wasn’t given $50,000,000. Anyway, there was something else new on the planet, appeared in the time he had been away: superheroes. During his first adventure, Captain Marvel intervened to stop him, vanquished his lackeys and destroyed his machine. From that moment, Sivana included the superhero in the list of the people he wanted to take revenge against, and becoming Captain Marvel’s living nightmare.
The universe was destroyed, recreated and rewritten, and Dr. Sivana along with it: when he was reborn, he did so much time later, in the second half of the XX Century. In this time, Sivana was always a brilliant (and mad) scientist, but he was also a renowned genius, rewarded with success in business and even in politics; also his family made it out to the new reality, but this time his wife Venus divorced him soon after the birth of their fourth child. He lived in Fawcett City, and he was easily one of the world’s richest and most powerful men. Some researches of his evidenced the presence of an ancient power somewhere in Egypt, and he employed renowned archaeologists C. C. and Mary Batson to retrieve what he wanted from an ancient pyramid; he also sent one of his lackeys, Theo Adam, along with the couple, instructing him to kill them as soon as they digged out the ancient power he wanted for himself. Sivana invested quite an amount of money in the expedition, sure that the final prize was worth any sum of money…but something went wrong: the Batsons found what they were meant to, Adam killed them both, but it was the archaeologists’ young son, Billy, the one who obtained the power, becoming the superpowered Captain Marvel (both Adam and Sivana recognised him, as he assumed his late father’s appearance when he turned adult as the hero). Already on the brink of bankrupt for the money he had lost on the expedition, Sivana received the finishing blow by Captain Marvel himself, who confronted him and destroyed his research facilities, ending his financial empire. For Sivana, this meant the beginning of a war, and knowing that his adversary was a ten years old boy didn’t represent a problem for him. With no resources at his disposal, Sivana formed an uneasy alliance with the alien warm Mr. Mind, but his humiliation grew as he was forced to ally himself with Captain Marvel himself to get rid of the parasite. Next, he joined forces with Lex Luthor, a kindred spirit who helped him get back on his feet and to elaborate a plan to utterly destroy the Big Reed Cheese‘s life (that’s how he called Marvel): the war had just begun.
Dr. Thaddeus Sivana is an extremely intelligent and brilliant individual, but also a ruthless and greedy man who only seeks power and dominion. With no superpowers of sort, his incredible intellect gives him advantage against any foe: a skilled inventor and engineer, he can create pretty much everything, from mind-controlling devices to death-ray machines, to his best known and most effective invention, the Unternet, a network system used by criminals all around the world which is completely undetectable and impenetrable by unwanted guests (including the super-hacker Oracle). Bent on a vengeful quest against a world who fails to acknowledge his superiority, Sivana is as dangerous as he is intelligent, a genius who’s devoted his science to utter evil.